Over the course of their varied career Booka Shade have stood for many things: one characteristic, above all, though has defined their incredible journey: musical excellence. Producers Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier might have turned their gilt-laden hands to a number of sonic pursuits ‚Äì how many artists can you name who have not only remixed Hot Chip, but Roxy Music? ‚Äì but quality runs right through everything they do.
And so it is with their first DJ mix album, the latest chapter in !K7’s never-ending compilation series, DJ Kicks. And as is courtesy in the DJ Kicks cycle, Booka Shade have presented two further compelling cases for their legendary status: the exclusive track Numbers and previously unreleased Estoril.
Within the confines of their mix, Numbers and Estoril are, respectively, sublime electro house and haunting, slo-mo groovers. However, dressed up in their strictly-for-the-dancefloor fancy glad-rags, both Numbers and Estoril have liberally been dabbing at the MDMA powder.
The Extended Vocal Mix of Numbers is a hypnotic slice of sophisticated tech-soul. Driven by a twinkling, almost eerie, undercurrent, this vocal chugger (Booka Shade’s first real venture into vocals, inspired by their mix) soon takes a trip to the Balearics, as the blissful pianos cosy up to the Booka’s idiosyncratic throbbing curve balls and delightful twists and turns.
Meanwhile, Estoril is magically reminiscent of Underworld at their most experimental. Making exquisite use of the space afforded them, it ebbs and flows like the best techno and when it really gets into its beatific stride you can’t help but think that Gloria Estefan was right: rhythm really is gonna get you.
Incredibly, the very best could be saved till last. The Club Mix of Numbers is a lush, subterranean techno track, heavily influenced by the legacy of Detroit’s founding fathers such as Derrick May and Juan Atkins. Again it builds with supreme confidence before finally exploding into a cavalcade of swooping synths and malevolent beats.
So there you have it. Three tracks, each markedly different from the other